Jocko Willink is a retired Navy SEAL who commanded Task Unit Bruiser during some of the hardest fighting of the Iraq War. Currently he has a podcast, a leadership consulting company and several New York Times best selling books on leadership. Jocko is captivating, intimidating and intense.
I want to dismiss him on principle as just another self promoting Navy SEAL but I cannot. I wonder why? I also wonder why so many people from all walks of life call his message life changing. Two of my friends who have no military experience what so ever are huge fans.
So why Jocko? He is a Navy SEAL but I have met and worked with alot of SEALS and they aren't anything special in the Special Operations Community. Good ones and bad ones like any unit. Jocko is a good one.
Jocko is captivating, intimidating and intense. So what.. I know alot of people who embody the same qualities. However Jocko can communicate his message outside the insular community of special operations very effectively.
Ultimately I think he has become this phenomenon because the general public is starving for discipline. Jocko is all about discipline. Self discipline, unit discipline, business discipline. In a country where only .0045% of the public serve in the military and 85% of those folks aren't combat troops the disconnect is huge. This is the same reason that people flock to GORUCK events that are patterned loosely after Special Forces Selection. People pay money, or buy books or listen to podcasts to be physically, morally or intellectually tested in a way that does not happen in normal society.
100 years ago if you were lazy and didn't get your crops in on time you stood a real chance of starving to death. That's not a concern anymore. As we become more reliant on technology the message of self reliance gets lost. Jocko is broadcasting that message loud and clear. His message is not unique but it somewhat rare outside military/public safety circles.
When I was in Northern Iraq our Task Force Commander, a Colonel who later became a General, stood on the hood of a Humvee and gave one of the most inspirational and Pattonesque speeches I have ever heard. Its content is lost to the fog of war as it was totally impromptu however what it wasn't was abnormal.
The military has many great leaders and honest to goodness heros. I think those that are not familiar or have no experience with this are unaware this is the truth. Once they are made aware they just want know more. This is what Jocko does, he spreads the message.